Clean and lean or downright dirty?
With the increase in internet availability and the success of social media, there is a multitude of knowledge available at ones finger tips. Some of this information is accurate, others misleading. Certain sources can be exaggerated while some are just simply misunderstood. Understanding and executing a proper mass building or bulking game plan is no exception.
Terms such as “dirty bulk” and “clean bulk” have been making their way around the gym since the 70’s. While some trainers and athletes swear there’s a place for both, others disagree, I being one of them. The term “dirty bulk” refers to ingesting massive amounts of calories to entice the body to have excess calories and build mass amounts of muscle, with little catabolism (muscle breakdown). These calories include saturated, unsaturated and trans fats; simple and complex carbohydrates, and various protein sources. Although large amounts of muscle can be built during a dirty bulk, there is also a high risk of unwanted fat gain. Dirty bulking can also cause temporary and sometimes permanent damage to the metabolism through excess toxins, acidity, and insulin resistance.
The body is put under intense stress during the process of dirty bulking, causing the pancreas to secrete high amounts of insulin that clear the large amounts of glucose in the blood sugar. As time goes and our body is being bombarded with signals, it becomes less responsive to insulin and other important hormones. Long term this can cause damage to our metabolism, resulting in increased cutting phases to achieve the results the athlete may have once had with much less effort. This is a vicious cycle that is all too often practiced in the fitness industry.
A “clean bulk” has many definitions, but often refers to ingesting anywhere from 250-1000 excess calories each day from various foods to achieve a gradual increase in muscle mass with little to no fat gain. This method of bulking also includes a combination of all nutrient sources, but in a more controlled and less chaotic manner. Athletes are still often confused with the methods of a clean bulk and sometimes think this means high protein and moderate amounts of fats and carbs. Doing this can cause excess protein amounts and can lead to a state called “acidosis.” Acidosis occurs when the body is overwhelmed with high concentrated sources of proteins (such as animal protein) and falls in to a state of high acidity or very low pH. This can result in Insulin resistance, muscle catabolism, immune system destruction and worse.
An effective bulking period needs no label of being “clean” or “dirty” if proper nutrition principles are in place. Cheat meals have their time and place, but in no sport should that mean every day or every meal. Nutrient timing, proper food sources, supplementation and training can all ensure an effective bulk phase, without the damaging health effects. The “boomerang” effect post-competition of high amounts of fat gain and muscle breakdown can be avoided!
The first step to mass building is good hydration and proper post-workout supplementation. Our bodies are most responsive to nutrients post-workout, using them to build and repair muscle versus storing fat. This time frame is referred to as the “anabolic window”; a series of hormonal responses achieved from exercise. A proper post-workout supplement for mass should include both high glycemic (simple) and low glycemic (complex) carbohydrates. The best sources for these include waxy-maize, dextrose or maltodextrin, and whey protein, which is a rapidly absorbed protein source needing little digestion. Electrolytes such as potassium and sodium should also be included and other beneficial elements such as essential fatty acids, medium chain triglycerides and amino acids.
Nutrabolics® MASS FUSION™ is a mass building supplement that contains 170g of carbs per serving with 28g of those carbs from sugars. WAXYBOLIC™ is Nutrabolics® thermogenic offspring of traditional waxy maize which restores glycogen and promotes fat burning. It is a time-released carbohydrate matrix that helps stabilize insulin fluctuations in the bloodstream. MASS FUSION™ also contains Nutrabolics SUPERFATS™ that contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a powerful fatty acid that aids in fat burning and muscle growth, and medium chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT is the “simple carb” of fatty acids that quickly enters the blood stream for energy while also helping to burn fat.
Of course no mass building supplement would be complete without protein and MASS FUSION™ contains 47g per serving from whey isolate and casein, giving a combination of quick absorbing and slow absorbing proteins ensuring effective muscle anabolism. MASS FUSION™ also contains a power punch of potassium, sodium, calcium and amino acids to ensure everything the body needs to put on lean, dense mass without any negative effects. If you consider yourself an athlete who’s in it for the long haul then put down the bag of donuts and pick up a bag of MASS FUSION™; your body will thank you later.
Ricky Goodall, Nutrabolics Athlete